Te Wiki o te Reo Māori 


Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori (Māori Language Week) is a time for us to celebrate the Māori culture and language. 

Read stories from our whānau below on what Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori means to them, and scroll down to listen to some simple phrases you can learn throughout the week.

Meet Caitlin Weren, Technical Assistant, People & Culture

I was born and raised in Kirikiriroa (Hamilton, Aotearoa) and I have an older sister and a twin brother. 

Having two teachers as parents meant that we all grew up with a love of learning, and in particular for languages and culture - my dad spoke seven languages fluently and my mum speaks four! It's no surprise then that I'm also a linguist - I love hearing and learning different languages, as well as the influence that language has on cultures and the people who keep them alive. 

Our local primary school had over 40 nationalities represented, and we were exposed to diverse and rich cultures from a very early age. I studied French and Japanese throughout my time at high school and university, but it wasn't until I lived overseas on a student exchange that I became really determined to learn te reo Māori - the language which nurtures the way of life that makes us unique as a nation. 

To me Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori is a chance to celebrate the native language of Aotearoa, support pakihi Māori (Māori-owned businesses) and just kōrero (speak) Māori as much as we can! 

Through studying te reo Māori, I also began to learn more about tikanga (customs) and te ao Māori (the Māori worldview), which is now motivating me more than ever as my awareness and appreciation of our role as kaitiaki (guardians) of our environment grows.

I'm in my third year learning te reo Māori through Te Wānanga o Aotearoa - I first started taking the classes at Fonterra’s head office (offered in March each year), which was such a cool way to get to know people from all around the business and share our learning journey together. 

Now we're in our first year of full immersion - it's been a huge learning curve, but so rewarding once I built up some confidence to give it a go and embrace all of the mistakes!

My biggest piece of advice for people learning te reo Māori is just karawhiua - give it a go! It's hard to get better at anything unless you practise.  

I started out by committing to do my best to greet and farewell people in Māori, both in person and in emails. From there you get inspired to expand your kete (kit) a bit, so I have colleagues who I swap phrases with and we keep a running list of new ones to use as we learn them. 

Listening to podcasts and watching TV programmes/movies helps me to learn new phrases - my favourites are the Taringa podcast and The Lion King Reo Māori on Disney+.

A word I’d like to share with people to learn this Te Wiki o te Reo Māori is ‘Āwhina’ - the name of our internal platform for all things P&C, IT, Finance and Facilities. I often hear Āwhina being pronounced in different ways, but it's actually the Māori word for "help", with extra emphasis on the first letter (Ahh- feena). 

Meet Tamahauiti Potaka, Strategy & Implementation Analyst

I come from Otaki, a proud community of reo Māori speakers. My language journey began there, nurtured by kohanga reo, kura Māori, and the wider Ōtaki community. Currently, I'm enrolled in the level 7 Te Pīnakitanga ki te Reo Kairangi course at Te Wānanga o Aotearoa.

My connection with Te Reo Māori runs deep. It's not just a language; it's a part of my identity and heritage.  

Te Wiki o te Reo Māori holds a special place for me. It's a time to honour our pakeke who fought for the rightful recognition of Te Reo Māori and to ensure that future generations are equipped with the language to live and breathe it.

Tips for learning te reo Māori: Incorporate it into daily life – label items around you, greet people in Māori, and engage with resources. Encourage peers to learn together; a supportive community helps. As the saying goes "Nau mai te hapa" – welcome mistakes! 

One whakatauki I would like to share for Te Wiki o te Reo Māori is: "Whaia te pae tawhiti kia tata, whaia te pae tata, whakamaua kia tina." This whakatauki encourages us to seek out distant horizons, and while doing so, cherish the milestones we achieve along the way. It's a reminder of the importance of both striving for our goals and embracing the journey.

Meet Brittany Frew, Farm Relationship Advisor

Kia ora Tatou                                                Hello everyone 

Ko Hakriamata te Maunga                        Hakriamata is my mountain 

Ko Whangamata te Moana                       Whangamata is my ocean

Ko Piako te Awa                                           Piako is my river 

Ko Tainui te Waka                                       Tainui is my canoe 

Ko Ngapūhi te Iwi                                        Ngapūhi is my Tribe 

Ko Ngati Paoa te Hāpu                               Ngati Paoa are my people 

Nō Kirikiriroa ahau                                      Hamilton is where I live 

Ko Jamie toku tāne                                     My husband is Jamie 

Ko Hannah toku tamāhine                         My daughter is Hannah 

Ko Luca toku tama                                      My son is Luca 

Ko Brittany Frew toku ingoa                      My name is Brittany. 

No reira, tēnā kotou, tēnā koutou, tēnā tatou katoa. Thank you one and all. 

He iti taku mohiotanga ki te reo, I have a little knowledge of te reo. 

I am currently on a self-learning journey and lean toward peers for greater support.  

For me te wiki o te Reo Māori means to share and build on the language and understanding that I have, with my peers and whānau. I will be encouraging kōrero, waiata and tākaro throughout the week. 

Kia pai tō rā! Have a great day!

Meet Suzanne Holland, General Manger, IT

Having fallen in love with Aotearoa over multiple holidays, my family decided to move from Australia to Aotearoa in 2016.  

In 2020 I joined a Te Wānanga o Aotearoa Te Ara Reo Māori (level 1 & 2) class facilitated by Fonterra. Our in person weekly classes quickly turned to Zui’s (hui’s over zoom) as COVID-19 hit. 

Our whānau of learners spent numerous hours online, then as COVID-19 restrictions eased, we enjoyed in-person one day wānanga (learning) and even two stays at the local marae.

I practiced at home with my Aussie kids who were also learning at school. We had fun with some of the waiata (songs) and kept on our toes responding to ‘kei te pēhea koe?’ (how are you?). 

I got a good grasp of the basics of the language, confidence in my pepeha (introducing myself), and thoroughly enjoyed the experience that brought us together at a challenging time.   

While I am still a novice, I do enjoy throwing a few kupu (words) into nga kōrero as gentle reminders for myself. I love singing along with waiata and challenging myself with pronunciation when I see kupu written in te Reo. 

Te Wiki o te Reo Māori is a reminder to keep the language alive, to be brave and remember that if you don’t keep up the mahi, your skills and confidence will fade.  

The favourite part of my pepeha is “Ko Te Tai-o-Rēhua toku moana” meaning “the Tasman Sea is my ocean” as this is the sea that joins me with my whānau when we are continents apart. 

Give some of these simple phrases a go this week!

This cheese is tasty!
Let’s go get some coffee
Keen to pop over for a cuppa?
How’s the weather?